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2. On Ankova, the Central Province of Madagascar, and on the Royal or 
Sacred Cities. By the Eev. W. Ellis, f.r.g.s. 

The author informed the Meeting that he had undertaken his recent 
(fourth) journey to Madagascar at the invitation of King Badama, 
towards the end of 1861, and that during his excursions in the 
interior in search of limestone for building, and for other objects, 
he had travelled over several parts of the province of Ankova. It 
is the most important of the twenty-two provinces into which the 
island is divided, from being the country of the Hovas or dominant 
race, and is 160 miles in length, by nearly. 100 in breadth. The 
country is hilly or mountainous, but the elevations rise singly or in 
masses, rather than iovm continuous chains. Mount Ankaratra, 
in the south-west of Ankova, is one of the highest mountains in the 
island, supposed to be about 13,000 feet above the level of the sea. 
It had not yet been ascended by a European, and probably not by 
the nativeS; although they stated that in the cold season snow lay 
in the hollows near the summit. Between the isolated hills or 
mountain masses lay fertile valleys or level plains, some of them 
several miles in extent, frequently well irrigated and cultivated 
with rice. The province is well watered, and the rivers, though 
not large, seldom fail through the long droughts of summer. The 
author, after enumerating the streams, rivers, and lakes of Ankova, 
proceeded to describe the forests, which, with occasional intervals 
of clear land, bordered the province on three sides, and supplied it 
with valuable timber, but left the central district itself almost 
destitute of trees. Euphorbias and several kinds of Ficus were 
indigenous, and fruit-trees had been introduced, and grew luxuri- 
antly. Horned cattle are numerous ; and it is a singular fact that, 
whilst the domestic ox is the humped Indian species, the vast herds 
of wild cattle are all of the straight-backed kind. The sacred cities 
or villages of Ankova are twelve in number ; they derive their 
sanctity from having been the birth-places, abodes, or burial-places 
of their monarchs. Europeans are forbidden to enter most of 
them ; and although some of them are places of large size, they 
have not yet been laid down on our maps. Their names and relative 
situations are as follow : — 1. Alasora, about 6 miles south-east of the 
capital. This is said to have been the first residence of the Hovas 
in Imerina. 2. Imerinmanjaka, 2 miles N. by e. of the capital. 3. 
Ambohitrahiby, place of first eating of beef, 12 miles north-west of 
the capital. 4. Antananarivo, the capital. 6. Ambohimanga, 10 
miles N. by e. of the capital. This is the most sacred city in the 
province, it was the capital of the northern part of Imerina before 

5(5 DISCUSSION ON THE [Dec. 11, 18G5. 

its chief conquered Antananarivo, and contains tlie house of one 
of the national idols Ifantaka (pronounced Ifantak). The sove- 
reign visits it usually once a year to preside at, and take part in, 
the offerings and other rites in honour of their idol. It contains 
the tombs of several sovereigns, especially the mother of the late 
King, who was also the aunt of the present Queen. It is defended 
by fortifications, the s.e. angle of the mountains forming a steep 
escarpment, 6. Ambohitany, 2i miles distant from Ambohimanga, 
situated on an elevated ridge. In this place is the house of Eama- 
liavaly, a more renowned idol than Ifantaka, whose will to punish 
any one is sujjposed to be accomplished by the agency of serpents. 
7. Ambohidratrimo, 12 miles north-west of the capital, the birth- 
2)lac6 of the mother of Kadama I. 8. Ilafy, 5 miles n.n.e. of the 
capital, is the birth-place of the mother of the late Queen Eanavalo, 
and belongs to Eadama II., her son. 9. Inamehana, 6^ or 6 miles 
N. by w. of the capital, belonging to the present Queen. 10. Amba- 
toiimanjana, the exact position unknown to the author. 11. 
Ambohimanambola (" the village having silver or money "), 6 or 7 
miles to the e. of the capital, containing the house of the chief 
national idol of the Hovas, Ikelimalaza. 12. Ambohimalaza, e.s.e., 
1 miles distant. The belief in the influence of the spirits of the 
ancestors of their monarchs is one of the chief features of the Mala- 
gasy religion ; it enters into all their most important ceremonies, 
and influences the actions and policy of royalty. 

This paper will be printed in the ' Journal,' vol. xxxvi. 

The Pkbsident said he was quite sure the Society would return most 
hearty thanks to the authors of these papers, — the gallant young artillery 
officer Capt. Eooke and the celebrated missionary Ellis. With regard to Mr. 
EUis, he had, in his modesty, not touched upon the great service which the 
liody to which he belonged had rendered to Madagascar in introducing a 
written language amongst its people. He had not only communicated to the 
Society geographical information, but much ethnological knowledge. No 
doubt, on the present occasion, gentlemen would rather have heard a paper 
much more connected with pure geography ; but ethnology was so closely 
interwoven with descriptions of distant countries that when thei'C was any 
communication made relating to the habits and manners of people by those 
who had been careful to form a right judgment he was quite sure that such 
knowledge would always be gladly received. 

Mr. J. Ceawfukd said he was very much obliged to his friend Mr. Ellis 
for the paper which he had read. Madagascar was a very large island, — the 
third, in point of size, in the whole world, being next to Borneo and New 
Guinea. It was about three times the size of our own island, and a great deal 
lai-gor than the whole kingdom of Prance. It was big enough, if it were only 
good enough. The inhabitants were negroes, and though upon the whole they 
wore more advanced in civilization than the negroes of the opposite continent, 
especially the eastern side of it, which was about the most inhospitable and 
iKirrcn country in the known globe, still they were sheer absolute barbarians, 
even in the favourable representation of Mr. Ellis. Now, something had been 

Deo. 11, 1865.] PAPERS ON MADAGASCAR. 67 

said about oxen and the other anunals. There were the ox, the goat, the hog, 
the dog ; he was glad to think that the sheep was not a native of that country 
— glad on account of the sheep, for the climate was not suited to its health. 
There were wild and domestic cattle, but how brought there he could not tell. 
They were very numerous, and the Americans used to go there for the purpose 
of making jerked beef. There must have been at one time or another a com- 
munication between the Malay islands and Madagascar, and a very mysterious 
one, in proof of which he would give a few examples. There were many 
Malayan words in use by the Hovas, including the whole series of numerals 
up to 1000, or, including Sanskrit numerals in Malay, up to 10,000 and 
100,000. He had selected a few of the words, to show under what obligations 
these negroes were to the Malayan people, who came, one hardly knew how, a 
distance of at least 3000 miles. It must have been much easier, however, to 
come than to return, because on the way there they were favoured all the 
while by either the south-east trade-wind or the south-east monsoon. To get 
bade seemed to him a matter totally impossible, by a direct course. They had 
introduced such names as rice, cocoa-nut, capsicum, thread to sew with, iron, 
sea or land, as correlatives, island, headland or cape, and others, to the number 
of 1.50. The following names of places were also of Malay origin : — Tanjuna 
amber (Malay, Tanjung amhar) — flat or insipid point or headland. Manamhar 
(Malay, Maiiambar) — to swoop as a bird. Tcmanarivo — Name of the Mada- 
gascar capital in Malagasy, and meaning, in Malay, 1000 villages or towns. 
Jianuminta, in Malay, Water needed or wanted. Boyana hay — In Javanese 
the Boya signifies " danger," and also an " alligator." The syllable na is the 
preposition "of," as in the word tana-na-rivo above named. Narendra — 
The word narendra is Sanskrit, derived from the Javanese, and means "king" 
or " prince." Such Malayan words as Batu, a rock ; Banu, water ; Tan- 
juna, for Tarjwng, a headland ; and the sea is usually called Ranumasina, a 
compound Malayan word signifying " salt-water." Then we have Ntisi, for 
nusa in Javanese, an island ; and Lanitri for Langit, the sky, in Malay. 

The President said he thought when Mr. Ellis rose to reply he would show 
that the inhabitants were not quite such sheer barbarians as Mr. Crawfurd had 
described them to be. Their progress in architecture had surprised him ; 
judging from the photographs of public buildings now exhibited. 

Lord Strakgfoed observed that, as Mr. Ellis's opportunities for acquiring 
trustworthy knowledge on all that concerned Madagascar rendered him a 
reliable witness, he should much like to know from him the length and the 
breadth of Mahometan influence, literary or religious, upon the island, and 
to receive some information in regard to the books said to be written in the 
Malagasy language and Arabic alphabet, and described in a paper in the French 
' Journal Asiatique.' 

Mr. J. Kesslkr said that from observations which were made at Antana- 
narivo last year, it was ascertained that the city was placed by far too much 
west on the map, and that the river Ikopa, which came within three days' 
distance from the capital, and which was navigable for Arab vessels, had also 
been misplaced, and it is now settled that it empties itself into Bombatoko 
Bay on the west coast. With regard to the question as to the Arabic manu- 
scripts or writings in Madagascar, the only authority we had was Placourt, 
who was not altogether to be depended on. He mentioned twenty-eight 
books, partly astronomical, partly medical ; but none of those could be found. 
He (Mr. Kessler) believed they were purely Arabic, and had nothing to do 
with Madagascar, — at least, not with the Malagasy language, except an Arabic 
and Malagasy dictionary. There were several Arabic words contained in the 
language, but, comparatively speaking, they were few. He believed the names 
of the days of ttie week were Arabic, and two names of the months. There 
were several Sanskrit words contained in Malagasy which had either been 


handed down direct or through the Malays or some other tribe. There were 
some Hebrew words, many French, but few English. It would have been 
interesting to trace how the Hovas, who were the conquering race, and in 
numbers the most insignificant, reached Madagascar, and one way of arriving 
at a certain conclusion was by tracing the language. He had occupied his 
mind a good deal whilst at Madagascar, and had collected much evidence as to 
the ancient proverbs and laws of the country. He believed that by tracing the 
purely native language they. would be able to arrive at a conclusion as to the 
manner in which the Malays (for they could not be anything else) had reached 
the capital or had come to Madagascar. There was no question at all that the 
Arabs had for a long time been settled on the west coast. 

Mr. Ellis, in reply, said he was grateful for the notice which had been taken 
of his paper. In regard to the origin of the people, he thought that three 
races had been amalgamated to form the present inhabitants, or that they had 
been derived from three different sources : one, the opposite coast of Africa, 
the second the Malayan archipelago, from some family or portion of the large 
Malayo- Polynesian race, and the third unknown. It was too wide a question, 
however, to be gone into now. Mahomedan influence might have operated to 
some extent in former times, for the country was visited by Mahomedans 
before it was known to Burojieans, and some few of the customs of the people 
may have a Mahomedan origin. There are also a number of Mahomedan 
traders at Majamba and some other places on the west coast, but for more 
than a century past Mahomedan influence has been but slightly if at all felt 
in Madagascar. With regard to the Arabic, he had made many inquiries of the 
people from that part of tlie country where Arabs had been most numerous, 
and there were parts on the south-east coast which were said to have been 
inhabited by a larger portion of Arabs than any other. They had come there 
for the purpose of trade and manufacture, and employed the natives in carry- 
ing on the affairs of the depots of trade, teaching the natives numerals, or so 
much only of their language as was necessary for keeping accounts and trans- 
acting business, but not writing any books. He (Mr. Ellis) had not been able 
to learn anything further with respect to the use of the Arabic language ; 
certainly, it never was written or understood by any of the natives that ho 
had been acquainted with. He had inquired of the natives in the country tho 
traditions preserved among them respecting the Arabs, and whether they did 
teach their language to any of the Malagasy ; but they always answered " No ;" 
and that it was used for their own purposes of trade and nothing further. 


(Printed by order of Council.) 

1. Leichhardt Search Expedition. Extracts from Documents trans- 
mitted to the Society by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. 

In vol. ix. of tho ' Proceedings,' page 300, an account was given of the recent 
discovery of traces of the lost traveller Leichhardt, and of the movement which 
was, in consequence, set on foot in Melbourne by Dr. Mueller for an expedi- 
tion in search of further remains of his party. The following communication 
has since been received on this subject from Sir George Bowen, Governor of 
Queensland : —